August 13th, 2009
The collaboration between Collections of Colonies of Bees and Justin Vernon of Bon Iver
photo by Cameron Wittig
Volcano Choir is the assembly of Wisconsinites Jon Mueller, Chris Rosenau, Jim Schoenecker, Daniel Spack, Justin Vernon, and Thomas Wincek.One might find these old friends also frequenting records and stages under the monikers Collections of Colonies of Bees and Bon Iver. The Volcano Choir collaboration predates the meteoric rise of Justin Vernon’s Bon Iver project, with original songwriting dating back to the summer of 2005 - right around the time the Bees first toured with Vernon’s previous band DeYarmond Edison.
Jagjaguwar will release the first project by Volcano Choir, Unmap, on September 22nd (21st in the UK), worldwide.
While entirely a studio record, the collection doesn’t suffer from a digital pile up or over-thinking. Rather, it breathes and convulses in equal measure, radiating an inherent dynamism found only in the voluntary bondage of intimacy. With influences ranging from David Sylvian and Steve Reich to Mahalia Jackson and Tom Waits, it might be more accurate to say the group’s influence is music itself. You can hear it in the care and real love generously applied to each moment of Unmap. With the vibe of some intimate backwoods gospel, plus a spirit of patience and thoughtful repetition, the music of Volcano Choir is as dynamic as it is lovely.Unmap ultimately came together over a weekend in November 2008 in Fall Creek, Wisconsin, at Justin and brother Nate Vernon’s recording studio. And while it is at its heart a record about the allure of being with people you need and making something with them, it is also a document created by musicians with rare gifts getting together to exorcise their ideas about beauty. This scaffolding of loops and off grid tempos for choral style vocals offers a state of continual surprise, call it unexpectation.
1. Husks and Shells
3. Island, IS
5. And Gather
6. Mbira in the Morass
7. Cool Knowledge
U.S. Publicity: Lucy Robinson / Jagjaguwar / PH: 812.323.0811
U.S. General Inquiries: Jon Coombs / Jagjaguwar / PH: 812.961.2571×240
U.S. Retail: Jacqui Refice / SC Distribution / PH: 812.335.1572
U.K. Publicity: Nathan Beazer at Dog Day Press
U.K. General Inquiries: Tom Davies / Jagjaguwar
March 25th, 2008
Bees got a little mention in the NY Times Arts Beat blog. Check it out here.
“Collections of Colonies of Bees are precise instrumental math-rockers. They use odd meters and layer on stop-start riffs, with drums snickering in the spaces and then joining the thrust; then, when everyone was riffing together, new guitar lines sudden sprouted like tendrils. Everything was calibrated — the music was as much blueprinted as composed — but there was an edge to the neatness.”
January 21st, 2008
We thank everyone that’s enjoying and talking about the new album. Here are some selected quotes:
“a flight of airy resonances and Reichian flutters … a gorgeous … unfurling, that rolls up and down into a few anti-climaxes until its final triumphant climb
-Brandon Stosuy, Stereogum (01.14.08)
“They don’t need vocals or traditional song structures to make interesting, engaging and energetic music.
-Muzzle of Bees (01.12.08)
“The music, as grandiose and expansive as any take on indie’s vast pallate, is … another solid album in a long line of bands making pop feel epic once more.
-Electronic Voice Phenomenon (01.15.08)
“the first perfect sound of 2008.
-Collective Common (01.18.08)
“Evidence if it were needed of the power of music.
-Mp3 Hugger (01.16.08)
“majestic passages appear as if they were lifted from clouds, with guitars that swarm and proclamate, build, and explode monstrous holes in the dark with their light.
-Parasites & Sycophants (01.18.08)